City needs more inspiring architecture

NOT even the most one-eyed Up-The-Rebels citizen of Cork would suggest that the city deserves a place on the itinerary of an architecture student travelling through Europe in search of inspiring contemporary cityscapes.

Most of the recent developments, say in the last two decades, are, at best, commercial-utilitarian and far too many fall heavily on the utilitarian side of that divide.

Though there are wonderful exceptions, the heavy hand of unlovely pragmatism is more apparent than any loving, aesthetic caress. 

Any suggestion that great swathes of recent developments epitomise second-city, second-rate provincialism would, of course, be rejected vehemently by unswerving Up-The-Rebels cheerleaders, but the evidence, and it grows every day, is irrefutable.

Too many city-centre developments seem more like remodelled airport hangars than a vibrant expression of the colour, the inscape, and character of the region. 

It is not that most are uninspiring, modern, or just plain ugly, it is that they, one after another, add to the soul-draining greyness of urban life by being so unimaginative, so very Legoland. 

The international architectural competition set up by those opposed to flood-defence proposals for the city is an opportunity to see what might be achieved. 

The city should grasp the opportunity to move from the mundane to something more uplifting. 

The city, and its residents, deserve better.


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